Tag : metric

87: Measuring Your Social Media Influence

Peer Index Graphs

When we were in high school, popularity was dependent on multiple factors: who your friends were, what your interests were, how many people knew your name (not to mention if you had money, played sports, drove a cool car, or were part of a band).

In some ways, social media environments like Facebook and Twitter have become the new places to determine social standing.  Through online social sharing, we are communicating many of the same markers used in our student years.

When you’re building your brand through social media, it’s good to visualize your standing and your progress.  Multiple companies are working to turn various, measurable data points into some form of comparable social score—some sort of official rank.  Rather than popularity, these scoring systems aim to determine how influential you are—how people interact with your online content.

Almost all of these scoring systems are still in beta stage, as they tinker with algorithms toward more accurate insights.  Because of this, don’t be shocked if your score fluctuates without a drastic change in your social media interaction.  Almost all of these scoring systems are Twitter-centric, because Twitter is more about broadcasting and getting your message to a broad audience—as opposed to Facebook and others, which are meant for sharing among friends and family.  Almost all of these scoring systems focus only on the last 30 to 120 days and appropriately so, as relevance is measured in the now.

Below you’ll find a non-exhaustive list of  some of the social media measurement tools I’ve consulted to see how my online brand is faring.

Klout Dashboard
If I could pick only one social measurement tool, Klout would have the tool box to itself.  Their site is fast—much faster than some of these other analytics sites.  Their service is free; and they currently allow you to connect up to ten different social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, FourSquare, Tumblr, Blogger, Last.fm, and Flickr.  (According to their website, Klout is also working to connect your Facebook Pages, YouTube, and Google+ streams.)  Klout shows you comparable social media users, including those you influence and those that influence you.  Klout not only shows your current ranking but also your trajectory.  It also offers web browser plugins that automatically show you other Tweeters’ scores next to their tweets.

Browser PluginsTwitalyzerPeer Index
Peer Index includes some of Klout’s capabilities but also maps the topics of your tweets on a graph of eight categories.  (It’s interesting to watch my topic map change over time into different shapes.)  The thinking behind this is that, typically—just as with blogging—the more topically-concentrated your posts are, the more likely you are to gain an interactive following.  Currently, Peer Index measures your influence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and your RSS-enabled blog.  Also like Klout, Peer Index offers web browser plugins that automatically show you other Tweeters’ scores next to their twitter handles—at Twitter.com (even if only mentioned in a tweet) or on any site where their Twitter handle is listed.
As the name implies, Twitalyzer measures only your Twitter activity.  Twitalyzer has maybe the largest selection of raw numbers amongst the Twitter analysis sites, but that’s in part to reporting both Klout and Peer Index scoring data with their other metrics.  You won’t find any fancy graphs here, but I really like that their scores are annotated to tell you your percentile for each number in the matrix.

Tweet Level AdviceTweetLevel
Also a Twitter-only measuring tool, TweetLevel has weak graphing and very little in terms of comparison with others on Twitter.  One thing I like about this site, though, is that it gives insightful recommendations for improving the various contributing factors to your score.

The main thrust of this Twitter measurement tool is currently to show you the best times to tweet content, based on mapping of your past tweets and the number of impressions they received.  At time of writing, uptime and score processing speed have been tremendously flaky, as the Crowdbooster team is adding to the site’s capabilities.
If you’re a fan of graphs, you’ll like TwentyFeet.  Outside of Klout, this site tracks probably the second-most amount of social streams.  I’ve had a couple issues with its beta version in load times and in unintended, automatic tweeting of scores.  With ongoing maintenance, this site might move into the top tier of measurement systems.

This site leaves a lot to be desired.  It doesn’t explain scores or offer the robust reporting of other sites.  Unlike other sites, which measure in ratings from 1-100, MyWebCareer shows your score in similar fashion to a credit report.  MyWebCareer claims to rank your search engine results, too, though it doesn’t seem to lift the veil to see how it compiles such.
My Career Score
Facebook Analytics
Facebook’s “Insights” tool is what it claims to be: insightful.  Where this analytic tool excels in in measuring your audience demographically—something the aggregate sits don’t (and probably can’t) do.  The graphing is interactive, allowing adjustable timelines.  The only sizable drawbacks are (1) it’s available only for pages, not for profiles; (2) you can’t compare your scores to those of others; and (3) you can’t include your scores from other social media for a more holistic view of your online presence.

This list will probably look very different a year from now.  Several other entities, including Nielsen—yes, the folks who measure television audience—are working their way into the social measurement game with new measurement units and matrixes.  As with search engines and other website categories, natural selection will eventually create an oligarchy of reliable, standard players that prove to own both the most intuitive algorithms and the best user interfaces.  In the mean time, the measurement choices we have are entertaining at least and informative at best.

Social media analytics won’t tell you where to advertise your auctions.  They won’t tell you how many people are absorbing your message—only those who interact with it.  These sites don’t supplant the most important question to analyze your media outlays: “How did my bidders hear about my auction?”  But they can give you a more informed perspective of how you’re doing at building an interactive brand on the Internet.

While many joke about the large amount of time I’m perceived to spend on social media, few know that I too often approach social media as a a competition.  It’s not a zero-sum game, but I work hard to make sure my brands—personal and professional—perform online at a high level, preferably at a level above those I teach & consult and against whom I or my clients compete in business.  (I check my Klout score daily, and that probably isn’t healthy.)

Where it becomes even more treacherous is when likes, comments, and retweets affect my choices of what to post.  The temptation is to post only the Ryan that my six years in social media have shown me is the most popular.  True, some of that is good sense—appropriateness, professionalism, etc.  But there’s a line between appealing to an audience and portraying an authentic personae.

That’s a challenge for all of us to varying degrees, both online and offline.  That’s why one of the scariest prayers for American Christians came from Israel’s King David: “Search me, and know my heart.  See if there be any wicked way in me.”

What’s Your Time *Really* Worth?

Time is MoneyWhat do you make an hour?

I’m not asking for you to tell me—just wonder if you know.

“What does it matter?” you might ask. “I don’t get paid by the hour.”

Actually, you do. Everybody does. Whether you’re a high schooler making minimum wage, a manager on a salary, or a business owner netting six or seven figures, people pay you for your time.

“No, they pay me a commission,” you might say—or, “No, I get the same check every week, regardless of time worked.”

95% of biplane productions‘ 2010 work has been invoiced via flat fees, not hourly billing (94% in 2009). But I can tell you what I make an hour per quarter, per client, per auction type, per individual auction, even per task within each auction—for every auction biplane productions has ever helped advertise. I can tell you how many minutes it typically takes me to upload your files to the print shop, how many minutes I spend on the phone with or typing emails to you, and how many minutes I spent manipulating budgets of your media expenditures. Diagnose me with a disorder, but it has given me great insight into what I do and how it’s done.

See, the more efficiently I work, the more I make an hour. Same goes for you. Efficiency can either earn you the same pay but with extra hours with family, friends, or unconsciousness—or earn you more dollars for the same amount of hours at the grindstone. Either way, you can make the hours you work worth more to you and to your clients.

But ambiguously trying to streamline your work flow without tracking your time is like trying to get out of debt without establishing a budget. And simply blocking time in your Day-Timer or iCal only tells you when work will be done. You have to record receipts of your time and store them in a format that can compare them, add them, average them. Lots of industries do this—lawyers, accountants, engineers, ad agencies, auto mechanics—they just use it for billing purposes.

Whether you record the time with a time stamp machine, a pen and paper, or with electronics doesn’t matter. It could be 3×5 cards you keep in your pocket or a slick iPhone app. Mine is a sheet of lined paper on the front of each project folder (assisted sometimes by sticky notes) and a formula-filled Excel spreadsheet.

The key is that you can see patterns and anomalies.

It’s not as complicated as you think. The insight you gain from this collection will be more than worth the five to 15 minutes per auction (or other project) you’ll spend recording your time. You will be surprised at some point. I have. Some jobs that seem to have taken forever or been a schedule pain have proved surprisingly profitable for me, and some jobs I’ve thought were a breeze actually netted me a disappointingly-lower wage for my time than I would have guessed.

I’ve added some columns over the years that give me even more telling information such as: type of auction property, number of auctions per campaign, number of properties per auction, number of days from invoice to payment, number of days a folder sits on my desk, and number of days before the auction that I get all materials from my client. By adding dates, I have almost eight years’ worth of trends to tell me the best time to take a vacation, when to anticipate hearing from my less consistent clients, etc. Combined with QuickBooks graphs, I have reliable accuracy in estimating my daily schedule and general cash flow.

If none of this appeals to you, what if I told you it might help you book a sale? Let’s say you’re presenting a proposal to someone who thinks all an auctioneer does is spend an hour talking to newspapers and a sign company, another couple hours at an open house, and then shows up to the auction. Now imagine you can show them number of calls fielded on average, the time spent managing advertising, or the average amount of cumulative man hours for that kind of asset. You can prove your worth and assure a seller their money is well spent.

It might even change how you do auctions. Maybe you find that online-only auctions net you more dollars per hour. Maybe you find that you can charge less for residential auctions than commercial. It might give you a competitive advantage in proposed commission structure. Instead of closing your multi-par auction after the whole-property bids, you realize you can substantially increase a month’s worth of dollars per hour with an auction that’s 30 or 60 minutes longer—by reopening the bidding up to single tract and combination bids.

For me, it’s changed who I take on as clients—and to whom I market my services. It’s shown me where to subcontract certain services and where to keep tasks in-house. I’ve seen bumps in efficiency after buying a larger monitor, after going to FTP technology. I’ve been able to keep my annual price adjustments inflational while giving myself a raise each year—just by getting more efficient.

How about you? Do you have a metric for profitability? Since “time is money,” you can determine true profitability only when you can see your value in terms of rates instead of income.

Capitalism allows supply and demand to set our prices. But efficiency allows us to set our wages.

Today, I again played with this ESPN salary calculator, which calculates how much a person’s annual income would buy in terms of a famous athlete’s performance. For instance, a Yankees pitcher makes my annual income for fewer than two strike outs (which might take me a year to do). An L.A. Laker makes my yearly wages for less than five rebounds. My 400 auctions in 2009 were worth less than 40 yards thrown by a recently-fired NFL quarterback.

Now, I could get discouraged by that; or I could realize that we are professionally worth what people will pay for us to do that. While we can’t control what culture pays for various professions, we can work to be on the top end of our respective industries. The harder realization for me is that my growing hourly worth in biplane’s hangar doesn’t make me worth any more as a person. My vote counts as much as Warren Buffet’s. I’ve been given the same amount of hours in a day as Steve Jobs has. Jesus died for panhandlers and Gulf Stream owners, me and you.

So, while some lives may have more public value than others, we all have the challenge to make the most of the lives we’ve been given. We can’t arbitrarily add days to our lives, but we can add life to our days.

The apostle Paul told us to number our days, to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” The Bible regularly suggests that we leverage our relatively-short lives for eternity. So, how much Life inhabits your days? And how contagious is that Life in the lives around you?

[footer]Image(s) used by permission through purchase from iStockPhoto.com ©2010[/footer]

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